Of Banksia and Birdies

Bird’s eye view of Kangaeroo Corner

It’s the most glorious day of the year so far in terms of weather and I am sitting in my back office, stuffing myself full of chocolate and lollies and preoccupied with bloody banksia and birds.

I’m stuck here because I’m waiting on delivery of the newest member of Kangaeroo Corner, a hairpin banksia that I am positive is going to be worth the wait.

For me, no flower is more iconic of Australia than the banksia.

And it holds a place in Australian folklore, named after Sir Joseph Banks, an 18th-century British naturalist who accompanied Capt. James Cook on the navigation of the northeast coast of the country that led to European colonization (or invasion, as most Indigenous Australians view it). Banks would take the banksia, acacia and eucalyptus from Australia and spread it around the world.

Even more iconic for me, though, is an anthropomorphized version of the hairpin banksia called the Banksia Men terrorized my early childhood.

Big Bad Banksia Men

Banksia Men were the villains in the delightful tales composed by May Gibbs, an early 20th century Australian author who wrote stories for young children featuring native Australian flora and fauna, most notably The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.

Anyway, I digress…a little bit, at least.

While I was waiting, there wasn’t much else to do than clean the house and garden.

I was shocked yesterday to learn that I had, indeed, destroyed the mower during the May working bee even though I thought I’d fixed it.

Worse still, I discovered that while trying to mow the lawn, which was still sodden following a week of virtually unhalted rain.

But, I borrowed a weed whipper from the estate office and cut the grass. I initially put the clippings in the kangaroo paw pots I’ve set up, but thought they were perhaps creating too much humidity and it would harm the plants, which like the dry, light heat of their native western Australia.

Waiting with me is our bird, who continues to sit on her eggs and appears poised to add to their number.

She looks a little lethargic and she worries me sick with fear of binding. She won’t eat the calcium I leave for her.

And…the banksia finally arrived just after 3 p.m. It was boxed with tremendous care and meticulousness and looked to be a flourishing picture of health.

Dino came to life, too, with the box presenting her with a new opportunity to tear something to shreds and use it in her nest.

Originally my plan was to leave the banksia in its pot rather than plant it in the harsher weather conditions of the rainy season.

For the time being, she’s in her pot alongside the Fountain of Strewth.

It’s a hardy tree. I’m thinking now might be as good a time as any. Mrs. Kangaeroo will need to be consulted!

Welcoming the Hairpin Banksia

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